The first time you leave your child with a stranger can be tense and difficult. Oftentimes your baby cries and reaches for you – an invisible string yanking at your heart as you pull away. Oftentimes a lone tear (or twenty) glides silently down your cheek. And then you count the moments until the reunion, hoping you chose the right person to care for the most important thing in your world.
Most of the time, parents have pretty good instincts about who is capable of caring for their children. Sometimes, there’s little choice. Whatever your situation, here are 4 warning signs that the caretaker you’ve chosen is not up to the job.
- The person conducts experiments on your child.
- The person lets your child get injured repeatedly before taking any action to protect him.
- The person feels there are certain levels of harm that are perfectly acceptable.
- The person is often distracted by shiny objects and not even paying attention to your child.
Okay. Stick with me here. I’m not nuts, I’m making an analogy. And, it’s about a regulatory system that is supposed to take care of our children and us – but is failing miserably. The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 is putting our children in harm’s way by allowing risky chemicals in everyday products. Here’s how the above warning signs translate to our flawed regulatory system:
- Potential toxics are not fully tested for safety before use (making all of us guinea pigs for potential effects).
- The government takes action only after harm is proven and widespread. (This is called the “count the bodies” approach to public health protection.)
- Certain levels of harm are accepted and allowed by government authorities. (Current policy focuses on establishing “acceptable” levels of harm from toxics rather than on seeking ways to prevent harm in the first place.)
- Powerful special interests obstruct government action to protect our health.
We wouldn’t allow a person who acted this way to care for our children and we shouldn’t expect a regulatory system that’s this flawed to protect them. As parents, it is up to us to make sure our children are better taken care of.
Healthy Child Healthy World has been rallying moms to fight for change for almost two decades. And this week we watch with excitement as moms across the country call on Congress to take action on this important issue – led by one important celebrity mom and spearheaded by a coalition Healthy Child is proud to be a part of, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families.
Yesterday, Jessica Alba appeared on Capitol Hill with Senator Frank Lautenberg to promote his chemical safety bill, the Safe Chemicals Act. “Like many other moms out there, I try to buy safe products for my family, but that can’t be the only solution. You can’t hire a team of scientists to do your shopping for you. At some point the government has to step in and ensure that chemicals are safe before our children are exposed to them. That’s why I’m delighted to join with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families to call on Congress to pass the Safe Chemicals Act,” said Alba.
Celebrities have long helped raise awareness about important issues by using their status to get media attention. And, even though you don’t have paparazzi following you, you can still do exactly what she’s doing and take some time to speak up. In fact, democracy doesn’t really work unless we speak up. In between elections, our elected officials are voting on policies every day. Do you know how they decide how to vote? By listening to their constituents – that’s you and me.
Back when I first began participating in politics, I remember sitting with elected officials and having them tell me how important it was to them to hear from their constituents – office visits, letters, phone calls – they mean A LOT. They told me that they decided how to vote on different bills based on how many constituents they heard from saying yay or nay. If 20,000 people called and told them to vote no on a bill and 25,000 called and told them vote yes, they’d vote yes. Likewise, if 20 people told them to vote yes on a bill and 25 told them to vote no, they’d vote no.
At the end of the day, each one of us has a voice and our elected officials need to hear it. That’s how democracy works. We can vote every day.
Join moms across the country and cast your vote today by telling your Senators to co-sponsor the Safe Chemicals Act.